The Chrysanthemum is a piano rag published by Scott Joplin in 1904. Joplin's marriage to his wife Belle was on the rocks at this point, and he dedicated the work to a young woman called Freddie Alexander who was to become his second wife. The origin of the name "The Chrysanthemum" is not known, but Joplin frequently used the names of trees and flowers for his works. Although Ragtime was very popular it was perhaps seen as frivolous in nature, and Joplin strove to have the form taken seriously. He wrote a ragtime ballet and two operas, and the subtitle to The Chrysanthemum "An Afro-American Intermezzo" may have been an attempt to associate Ragtime with the "intermezzo" of classical music. Certainly The Chrysanthemum is musically more chromatic than most piano rags. For those who can remember the BBC microcomputer, "The Chrysanthemum" was used as the background music to the popular BBC micro game called "Repton".
You can download the sheet music, midi and mp3 versions of this piece using the links on the left hand menu.